Wednesday, November 1, 2017

November 2017 - Never Assume

You can never guess or assume what anyone is going to think.
— J. J. Abrams

Touching the mind of another person, especially with the written word has many pitfalls.

The major one for writers is that what you meant isn't necessarily what you wrote down on the page. For example:                     The mirror winked back.

Did reading that make you stop and think about what was going on?

Did you laugh at the impossibility of a mirror actually winking?

Well, this is a prime example where logic trumps creativity. And remember, logic always trumps creativity. Besides, readers are logical people and when they see something like this, the writer's credibility nosedives.

The fix is simple. Just show and convey that a character looked in the mirror and winked at themselves, like–

Marsha paused before the hall mirror. Seeing her flawless makeup and hairdo, she winked. Yeah, kiddo, you're stunning. John is in for one helluva surprise.

Yes, showing always requires more words. However, in the above example, the reader will easily believe what's going on.

Here's another example, which is my all-time favorite:

                            He put his head through the door and knocked.

How do you put a head through a door if you're not a ghost?

Okay, how about you rewrite this to show what was actually meant. Feel free to share your version in the comment section.

******Topic for December will be "First Impressions Count"

Second Notice ...............


Are you struggling with some aspect of writing fiction? Well, here's your chance to get help. I am opening the 2018 Writers Cheat Sheets monthly blog posts up to your questions or topics. 

You can state your question or state your problem with a comment at this blog site or, if you wish to remain anonymous, email your question to me at —

Deadline is December 5, 2017.

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Janet said...

John popped a breath mint in his mouth and peeked around Marsha's half open front door. Seeing the gorgeous babe in front of the hall mirror, he gulped and swallowed the mint whole. How could dog-face Dan's little sister be such a stunner? Eager to meet Marsha, he knocked.

Catherine said...

I LOVE this! Well done. Thank you!